ADD · adhd · anxiety · depression · help · mental health · stigma · support

The First Step.

new journey

How to start? Where to start?

From the very beginning?

No. As recently a new beginning has started for me…

A BPD diagnosis was a big part of my journey so far. Vicious cycles of meds, depression, self destruction, pain, confusion, CBT therapy, Group Therapy and Council Support.
But it always ended where it began, at the edge of a mental cliff.

So when another ‘bad period’ caught me somewhat off-guard I ended up having to take 5 weeks off work just to go through the system and be told by the NHS that there was a massive waiting list to see a councillor or a therapist, well due to this the conclusion was the time had come to go privately.

I chose someone local who specialised in a few things one being BPD, so to cut a long story short within 30 mins of the session I was asked ‘Has anyone ever told you that you might be ADHD?’
My initial reaction was to laugh, I mean isn’t that what mostly little boys had in childhood? I remember knowing a boy who had it and they were known to be the class clown or the trouble makers, I didn’t know girls could have it? Let alone in adulthood!?

From too young an age I have never had an ‘official’ diagnosis so Harley Street psychiatrist here we come! Another discussion of going over my past and eventually the conclusion? Signs of ADD mainly and ADHD. Who knew!?
I was started on meds which would confirm once and for all if this was my diagnosis. (How this works is the ‘fast release’ ADHD meds I was given only work on the brain of someone who does in fact have ADD.)
Well they worked, not miracles yet but they worked!

All this time, all this wondering, all this confusion and not feeling like I fit in… turns out all this time I was ADD??? 

This was not a diagnosis I took on lightly! I researched loads and turns out most symptoms of BPD are the same for ADHD, and the signs can be different in women. The more I learnt the more it all made sense!

So here starteth the new journey!

My therapist helped get me on this path, I worried it would be like all the ones before, but this time it’s not, it’s right, I can feel it. How can you work with or treat an illness when either you don’t know it’s there or you have been told you have something completely different?

So here is my new journey of the mind, you’ve read of my past, my research, my pain, my hope, my relationships, my fears and part of my story, but not of my future…

Now I believe I truly have a future join me in discovering and stepping forward for what feels like the first time in a long time in the right direction.

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bpd · depression · grief · help · men · mental health · PTSD · stigma · suicide · support

The Breakdown

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For all of those who don’t know what happens when you are seeking professional help after struggling with mental health let me paint you a picture…

Recently though not easy to admit a pattern has formed in my life where I noticed my mind was getting the better of me, things were spiralling out of my control. No matter how much I created positive distractions or looked after myself my mind quite simply kept crushing me and only when I had two weeks worth of anti-depressant pills in my hand and a bottle of water did I realise it was time to get fighting again, but I need help.

So the process… crisis line as in 111 was called, protocol questions are asked, then you are passed on to someone else who will call you back within the next hour otherwise an ambulance is sent to your location.  However in my case I got a call back, again questions which are hard to answer have to be asked such as, ‘Are others in danger?’, ‘What has happened recently to bring this on?’ 1
I mean if only I had a nail sticking out my leg those questions would be much easier to answer when in my situation from the outside nothing is visibly that wrong.  Eventually the conclusion was an emergency doctor’s appointment the next day was to be made and the crisis line would fax over what information they could to help the doctor who would be seeing me.

The next day comes, doctor appointment arranged, sat in waiting room, name called, walk in and sit down. How can I help you today? My initial reaction to the question is ok don’t think he has received the fax details from crisis line… the next thought being how do I even begin to answer this question?
I started by focusing on my plan, aim and concern at wanting to take my life and attempting to do so. He then asks what again may have ‘brought this on’ and I am aware besides a recent tragedy in my life I have nothing to complain about besides well a truck load of emotions with no logical reason behind them and a mind which sends all my senses into overload and makes me do and say things far from my character.

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So the usual answers are given and a reference to my past involvement with mental health services is mentioned, ultimately again this has to be passed on to the mental health team which I have previously  been involved with.

 

But before the next step or ‘plan of action’ is mentioned not so helpful statements are made such as ‘Your life is your responsibility ultimately’, an obvious and slightly unsupportive statement. Also to mentioning a tragedy of losing someone I knew and cared for the response being ‘That’s life’, again an obvious  statement of which I assume might seem cold to many none the least someone with an emotional unstable disorder.
So without even considering replacing my medication I am told a letter will be written with no indication to when the mental health team will be in touch and a simple ‘hang in there’ in the meantime (easier said than done!) 7e486d93357beedf78dc7960b2e10819

Now I won’t slate the NHS as that is not my aim, I won’t even slate the doctor who’s unwanted and unneeded opinions were hurtful and unhelpful as I know many might abuse the system. But I want to bring to light that physical and mental conditions are treated completely differently, for example you wouldn’t tell a cancer patient that their life is their responsibility as they never asked for such a tragic disease to happen to them in the first place. Neither would you rush someone into A&E after a tragic life threatening accident and then just tell them ‘that’s life’ send a letter to another healthcare team and ask for them to ‘hang in there’ until contacted to start a whole other waiting game.
Extreme examples I know but I only hope to highlight changes need to be made here!

Eventually the question was also put to me ‘Did you really want to take your life?’ Well yes I wanted to and still think about taking my life a lot and I won’t lie to some extent I don’t care how that makes others feel because after a lifetime of burying myself in guilt considering each and every way my illness might make others feel I ask myself, do you know how it makes me feel?

anxiety · bpd · depression · mental health · stigma · suicide · support

Dreams

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I remember dreams… oh how reachable they seemed!

I would stand on stages and form into other people to the amazement of others, I would fall in love with a man and experience a love that I’d only ever known of in dreams.
I would travel the world like it was a piece of cake and soak myself up in all the beauty I encountered and which surrounded me. That feeling of achieving dreams was like being at the top of a roller-coaster when you’re about to go down the first big drop, the anticipation making your heart beat so fast! Then as you go your breath is literally taken away, it’s like you discover how to breathe all over again, the excitement captivates you completely.

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You might wonder why I am romantically ranting on about dreams. But the realisation of growing older and having my mental health and self-loathing take so much from me has permanently changed my dreams over the years. Where I once dreamt of doing something I love I now only dream for enough money to get by and a job that doesn’t make me entertain my passing suicidal thoughts. I do not dream for true love but attempting to renew that love for myself. I no longer dream of travel but the chance to actually move out of my parents house and to call some place my own.
My ultimate dream has become to be able to yearn for more again without the feeling of impending doom, which is similar to that roller-coaster but no thrill or joy… you stand on top of a mountain and beautiful as it may seem you worry the leap, the drop might kill you, so instead of jumping you just stand still only dreaming of that confidence to one day jump.

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The reason I write this is over the years so many have said ‘Go for it!’, ‘What have you got to lose?’ or maybe commented on a lack of desire and drive to go after what you want. But it’s not that myself or others who struggle don’t want to pursue our dreams but when your mind and emotions can be so fragile there is so much more at stake than a simple chance of failure or rejection, it’s the idea that you might fall off that cliff of which you tried so hard to climb and this time you won’t be able to get back up. This time you will be another lost soul who couldn’t hack it anymore.

Image result for just do itHowever bleak this may seem I personally do see a bright future for myself and I do start to dream and yearn again but it’s slower for me, I tread carefully, this journey much like the one I started last year is one of self-discovery, discovering the lost parts of who I was and helping form the person I am becoming.
I am not a victim or someone asking to be pitied but I am merely trying to show another insight into the things many people won’t or don’t want to talk about.

If you can chase a dream then do it but if you don’t feel strong enough yet there is no shame, just don’t stop dreaming as dreams create hope and hope is part of what keeps us alive.

anxiety · bpd · depression · help · mental health · stigma · suicide · support

Collateral Damage

Why did I leave you ask?

Collateral damage.

You know those movies where it’s dangerous to know the superhero? As one way or another the enemies always find out their true identity, putting everyone they love at risk? 

That’s what suffering from mental health can feel like, but far less like a superhero.
It’s like you are the superhero and the villain all at the same time, and you want to save your loved ones from the darkness and the hurt and the pain so you leave, you push them away, you can even say harsh words because deep down you think you’re saving them from yourself, a monster that you know all too well.

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I felt like a monster for a long time. Unable to love myself, I even surprised myself to the lengths I despised my very existence. So if you try and look at it through my eyes everything that could have been portrayed as selfish, unkind or cold I thought I was often doing for others good.

What’s another one of those lines from these kind of movies that the superhero always says…? ‘Everyone I love gets hurt’. I figured better I push them away as kindly and as gently as I can before the real monster comes out and really hurts them.

Then the ultimate question why not take the superhero and the villain out of the equation all together? If both are dead surely everyone would be happy?

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How wrong I was.

 

It’s not fun to admit these things but it gives an insight somewhat into how someone in mental turmoil might think. 

Yet it’s not a sacrifice I was making, I am not a monster and those I thought I was saving I only ended up hurting more. I only discovered this through realising I’m a blessing not a curse, I’m strong because I know what it’s like to feel so very weak, I’m compassionate as I’ve known piercing pain. I need to live, I have to live and I will live.

My mind and body are my own they do not control me, and what I feed into them is ultimately what comes out, and I had been feeding them so much hatred and negativity for too long. Once I took that anger and stopped turning it on myself anymore I learnt to channel it towards all these lies I had told myself and believed for so long, then I fought and I fought for my life. I do it every day and it gets easier but silent battles are hard to justify to others when you feel like they want to see your battle scars.

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anxiety · bipolar · bpd · depression · help · mental health · paranoia · schizophrenia · stigma · suicide

What a difference a day makes.

Suffering from mental health challenges can sometimes mean one day makes all the difference. One day life is full of hope and possibilities, next it’s a struggle to even get out of bed let alone through the whole day. relatedmedia

One moment you don’t have a care in the world, then in a matter of seconds these thoughts and memories creep into your head! Plaguing your mind and causing you to question the very meaning of life, or to remember every wrong thing you’ve ever done.

A film starts to play of all the worse moments of your life again and again on repeat. Your mind searching for a reason to justify this sudden overwhelming and suffocating emotional pain. Anger and adrenaline swells up from nowhere causing you to be mentally and physically exhausted without having done a thing.

Then the next day all gone… you’re just left having confused everyone including yourself. Consumed on and off with irrational thoughts and emotions often not knowing why or how. Constantly trying to think of reasons why you feel this way, or if feeling desperate even creating them.

An exhausting roller-coaster of not knowing what kind of day you’re going to have.

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There’s a massive frustration that no matter how hard you try to be happy when this cloud envelopes your mind it’s so hard talking, moving, even getting out of bed can feel daunting. 
Did I do this to myself? Am I incapable of happiness? Questions that spin around and a feeling of guilt that while others battle these emotions due to events and life circumstances I battle it for none.

Why do you feel depressed? What has happened? What triggered this?
All questions that cannot be answered.

It’s just a waiting game.

So be patient with those who are trying to explain their mental health is getting them down as there is no telling what kind of day they are having.

charity · help · mental health · news · stigma · support

Goodbye Hair

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Though this is a delayed post (considering I officially finished this fundraising on the 1st of July) for those still following I wanted to show that I was true to my word! I declared if I ended up rasing £2000 or more I would cut off most of my hair and seen as we came to an amazing total of £2,375 on Saturday the 1st of July I went to get the chop!

It’s a big change but I also feel like this journey has made a big change in me, so out with the old and in with the new! My first drink of the year was experienced with family having a celebratory meal and though going back to drinking has been odd it’s great to notice how I don’t feel the need to fall back into old habits and I’m building a new more healthy relationship with drinking and socialising. 

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So now onto the next big adventure, becoming a qualified level 3 personal trainer in 10 weeks!

charity · help · mental health · stigma · support

Month No. 6

Month Numbero Six

6 months today!!!

That’s it I have officially been sober for half a year, thanks to all the very generous donations you have all made to this wonderful charity Mind!

This experience has been life changing, what started as a decision to simply raise some money while addressing my relationship with drinking and the effects it has on my mental health has turned into something far greater than I could have ever imagined!
A journey where I re-discovered my self-value and that in itself is a realisation I had long forgotten.

So to keep it simple and sweet for all those who have followed me through this journey, if you don’t know much about mental health please discover more and help break the stigma by educating yourself and others, as you can make such a difference in so many people’s lives! And to all those who suffer with mental difficulties, if I can make this journey to recovery so can you! You’re never too far gone, reach a hand out, speak out and though the world doesn’t always reach out a helping hand or listening ear straight away there are people out there who will prove you wrong and want to help and support you, but most of all please know you are worth recovery, you are worth something and you are NEVER truly alone.

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The last thing I shall leave you with are a few words that I wrote roughly 4 years ago but still remain very true today…

If you’re reading this and you have ever felt completely alone, or you have felt at times you have fallen short of people’s expectations, if you have ever hated yourself or lacked self-worth or self-belief, if you have lost someone you loved even if its someone you just had to let go of, if you have had a million things you have wanted to say and not one willing ear to listen to you, if you have held back the tears for ages then burst when there is no one there to hug you, well I love you.

Not because I pity you, and not just because I relate, but because I truly believe everyone is worthy of love and no one should feel alone. I care because yes I’ve been there and I would never wish that upon anyone. People don’t understand that power of love…

This may just be my interpretation of love but I once read love was not selfish, so therefore love is selfless, so you can forget yourself and your fears, your problems to focus on that person and just be there, even if they don’t do the same for you in return.
So yes I love you because I want you to know you’re never alone.

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